There is a trick to being a group of five people all wanting different things. When we sit down for school, all three children would like for me to focus on them the entire time. Personally, I would like to float around doing my work, like a guardian angel, silently guiding at only just the right moments. I would also love to finish a thought without someone asking for something. When we go skiing, we all want to go our own speed and do our own things. But we cannot at any moment even half hope that we are all getting just what we want right this second. Contrarily, it is not "right" for any one of us to NEVER get the thing we most want.
Again, that word- Balance.
Today, as we skied, Ezra desperately wanted to go off on his own. He wanted to choose his path and go as fast as he could. Phaedra wanted the group to be together, as she wanted to spend time with the friend who met us there. Sylvie wanted to not feel left behind. I want very much for Sylvie to ski instead of being pulled in the pulk. Each child can be demanding and (dare I say it?) bratty, but Ezra seems to feel the most entitled to determine what every other person should do. He quite simply wandered off.
For those of you not faced with this, let me explain. I was on skis. I had two younger children, so I could only go as fast as they could go. There was no way I could leave them to chase him. Fortunately, he wandered back. I then explained for the 700th time this year that we must think of all the people in our group or family. I actually did not mind setting a time limit and letting him take off; he doesn't get lost, he does well with responsibility. However, our friend feels totally different about her child, and he had left with Ezra.
Ezra pulls an attitude when he feels unfairly hemmed in, so it took a bit of a threat (no friend's visit this afternoon) to snap him out of it. Then, we divided the group by ability, and the children had a good time. I was working, mostly. I stayed with Sylvie to give her time to be a little person who falls often, which meant I was not even sort of skiing. That's a trade off I was willing to make. She, on the other hand, keeps trying to ski, because that's something our family does.
No one got to do exactly what they wanted today, but everyone had a nice time. And, I believe this effort at compromising is perhaps one of the most important things we can learn in our little family group.